As far back as 2008, an Ofsted report concluded that: “The first-hand experiences of learning outside the classroom can help to make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils and enhance their understanding. It can also contribute significantly to pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.” This report evaluated the impact of learning outside the classroom in 27 schools and colleges across England. It went on to say that “Learning outside the classroom was most successful when it was an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities.”
I recently took a group of my students on a field trip to our local zoo here in Bangkok. This formed part of our studies on animal behaviour, a topic in Year 12 Biology. Learning in informal settings outside of the classroom, for example at zoos, museums, and galleries, is considered to be a useful way to link educational content with issues that matter to learners in their everyday lives. In this post I will outline the pre- and post-field trip activities, as well as the activities undertaken during the trip itself. Technology tools were used where appropriate to enhance the activities and the trip itself, but as should always be the case when incorporating technology,these were used to support learning rather than being the focus.